lummi island wine tasting march 16 ’18

(note: some photos will enlarge when clicked)

Bread this week

Breton – Made with an overnight pre-ferment before the final dough, which incorporates the flavors of the french Breton region using bread flour and fresh milled buckwheat and rye and the sel gris -the grey salt from the region that brings more mineral flavors to this bread. Makes great toast! – $5/loaf

Black Pepper Walnut- made with bread flour, fresh milled whole wheat and rye. A fair amount of black pepper and toasted walnuts give this bread great flavor with just a bit of peppery bite to it. – $5/loaf

and pastry this week…

Brioche Tarts au Sucre – A rich brioche dough full of eggs and butter is rolled into a round tart and topped with more eggs, cream, butter and sugar. – 2/$5


Signs of Spring

February and early March have been a little more Wintry than usual this year…though Nothing like the crazy weather elsewhere around the country, it has been colder and wetter than in years past. In the last week we have have a few bright, sunny days, brisk in the morning, with tangible radiant heat in the afternoon sunlight.

As a result, we are very pleased to see more or less On Schedule in the last few days, delightfully dancing in the Sunlight, the green leaves and bright yellow petals of the annual Daffodil bloom. Somehow this year it feels Particularly Reassuring to see these most reliable harbingers of Spring lift their Smiling Faces to the Sun. It’s a dose of some much-needed Tonic after what has felt like a Winter of Discontent across our Country and our World. Big breath in…long breath out…ahhhhh…a good time to Reset some Buttons.












For starters most people have never heard of it under any of its names: carignan in France, or carinena, samso, or mazuelo in Spain. In fact it was the single most common vine variety of France in the second half of the 20th Century, largely because of its high yields per acre, particularly in warmer climates like North Africa, where it has had a long history. The high yields made it feasible to grow even though it tended to be tannic, bitter and rough, but its late budding made it a good choice to replace earlier-budding vines that had been lost in several severe winters in the 50’s and 60’s. As a result it spread widely across the vineyards of Western Languedoc- Rousillon in France, and adjoining Catalonia in Spain.

Over the last twenty years or so, many carignan vineyards have been replanted with other varietals. Even so, much of the region is still widely planted with older carignan vines, some over 100 years old. These gnarly old vines have grown deep into the clay and limestone soils of the region, often yielding brooding (and sometimes rustic) wines of great depth and character, and often blended with other varietals like mourvedre, syrah, and grenache. For some of us it just Rings some kind of Bell, while lots of others find its attraction, um, more elusive.

So a few years ago it was a great treat to wander into an old winery and find a lovely and classic example of such old vines carignan, and in recent years have been able to score a case or two of their limited production: this week’s #5.   read more.


Mar a Lago Update: Two Scorpions Walk Onto a Leaf

A few weeks ago we mentioned the Disturbing Mutual Admiration between the Tweetster and CIA Director Mike Pompeo. As in, Why T.F. is the CIA Director falling all over himself on the Sunday news shows Praising the Tweetster’s Keen Intellect and Informed Judgment? And we implied several concerns: a) that the Tweetster is, as outgoing Secretary Tillerson once put it, “a Fu#*ing Moron;”  b) that Director Pompeo, having graduated first in his class at West Point, is probably Not a Fu#*ing Moron; and c) given his Shameless Sycophancy in playing his Allegiance to Tweetster Card on National TV, the Pompster has Greased* his way into Secretary of State-hood, a few heartbeats away from the Oval Office.   *”grease” = “oiling the wheels of one’s own progress”

There’s an old fable, in which a bunch of Marching Ants are using leaves to cross a stream. A Scorpion asks an Ant to take him across with him, and the Ant says No Way, once we get across you’ll Sting me and I’ll Die! “No, no,” says the Scorpion, “I just need a ride across, you’re perfectly safe, I promise.” With some lingering Concern, the Ant says OK, and they set out Across. When they get to the other side, the Scorpion says “Thanks!” and then Stings the Ant. “But you Promised You Wouldn’t!” cried the Ant, dying. “Yes, you have a point,” said the Scorpion, shrugging all six of his shoulders, “but hey, I AM a Scorpion, what did you expect?”

So. Now we are looking at Two Scorpions on a Leaf. Scorpions are by nature Solitary Creatures, although they do form in groups for mutual benefit, as in winter, say. And Mama Scorpions do form a “basket” of sorts with their backs and legs to carry their newly hatched young. And most species are shy and avoid contact. However Friendly this looks to Other Species, the Tweetster and the Pompster are too much alike to be anything but Natural Competitors. At some point only one will Remain Standing. Might take a while, should be Interesting. Stay tuned.


This week’s wine tasting

Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino 201 Italy     $13
Pale golden-tinged straw color; Botanical herbs and wh

Marchetti Rosso Conero ’15 Italy $11
Rich and inviting aromas of flowers, plums, brown spices, and hillside brush. On the palate,  round notes of cherries, blackberries, cocoa and spice. Culminates in a satisfying, lengthy finish.

Goose Ridge g3 Red ‘`14     Washington    $14
Syrah-cab-merlot blend; supple ripe plum and blackberry notes with hints of spice, vanilla, black currant and Bing cherry. Nicely balanced with a lush, round mouth and a long, lingering finish.

Lopez Cristobal Crianza ’11    Spain    $21
Tempranillo/merlot blend from high, calcareous vineyards in Ribero del Duero; long, balanced, and full-bodied, with soft, ripe tannins and a luscious, elegant finish.

La Baronne Piece de Roche ’12   France   $30
From 120-year-old Carignan vines in alluvial soil; concentrated and energetic, with layers of dried blueberries, cassis, and bitter huckleberries, a black powder-like pungency, and a brash brightness and salty tang on the finish.



Wine Tasting

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